Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Toxicodendron pubescens


SPECIES: Toxicodendron pubescens
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Toxicodendron pubescens. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. ABBREVIATION : TOXPUB SYNONYMS : Rhus toxicodendron L. [5] Rhus toxicarium Salisb. [8] Toxicodendron toxicodendron (L.) Britt. [5] Toxicodendron toxicarium (Salisb.) Gillis [8,9] Toxicodendron quercifolium (Michx.) Greene [8,20] NRCS PLANT CODE : TOPU2 COMMON NAMES : Atlantic poison-oak Atlantic poison oak TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for Atlantic poison-oak is Toxicodendron pubescens Miller (Anacardiaceae) [21,24,25]. This taxon is often confused in the literature with eastern poison-ivy (T. radicans), with which it has shared the synonym Rhus toxicodendron. The possibility of hybridization between Atlantic poison-oak and other Toxicodendron species is limited due to differences in habitat. Atlantic poison-oak forms occasional hybrids with eastern poison-ivy where their ranges overlap [8]. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Toxicodendron pubescens
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Atlantic poison-oak occurs from New Jersey to Florida, west to eastern Texas, and north to southeastern Kansas [8]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine STATES : AL AR DE FL GA KS LA MD MS MO NJ NC OK SC TN TX VA WV BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 14 Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K076 Blackland prairie K081 Oak savanna K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100 K084 Cross Timbers K086 Juniper - oak savanna K088 Fayette prairie K100 Oak - hickory forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest K115 Sand pine scrub SAF COVER TYPES : 40 Post oak - blackjack oak 43 Bear oak 45 Pitch pine 46 Eastern redcedar 70 Longleaf pine 71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak 72 Southern scrub oak 76 Shortleaf pine - oak 80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine 81 Loblolly pine 82 Loblolly pine - hardwood 83 Longleaf pine - slash pine 84 Slash pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Atlantic poison-oak is seldom abundant [8]. It occurs in open woodlands of various mixtures: longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)-scrub oak (Quercus spp.), pine (Pinus spp.)-hardwood, and second-growth hardwood [9]. It is found most often in scrub oak and pine woodland savannas with an understory of ericaceous shrubs and bunchgrasses including threeawn (Aristida spp.), needlegrass (Stipa spp.), and bluestem (Andropogon spp.) [8]. Atlantic poison-oak occurs under loblolly pine (P. taeda) plantations in Louisiana [2]. It is listed as an associated species in a big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)-kochia (Kochia scoparia)-common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) community that occurs in Kansas. Other associates in that community include western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), lambsquarters (Chenopodium album), and sedge (Carex spp.) [6]. In Alabama, eastern poison-oak is reported from a community in the Bee Branch Gorge Research Natural Area which represents the southernmost limit of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Tree associates of Atlantic poison-oak in this community include eastern hemlock and American beech (Fagus grandifolia). Understory associates include muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia) and cane (Arundinaria gigantea) [22]. Atlantic poison-oak is seldom associated with other members of its genus because of differences in soil requirements [8].


SPECIES: Toxicodendron pubescens
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Specific instances of wildlife use of Atlantic poison-oak have not been reported in the literature, although Blair [2] listed it as palatable browse for white-tailed deer. Eastern poison-ivy, a closely related species, is browsed by white-tailed deer, and its fruits are consumed by 61 species of wildlife [15]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Rhus toxicodendron occurred with 1 percent frequency on 10-year-old, unreclaimed lignite mine sites. It occurred at 15 percent frequency on 30-year-old sites, and 67 percent on 60-year-old sites. It was not found on sites less than 10 years old, but did occur on undisturbed adjacent sites at 3 percent frequency. It is not clear from this article whether the reference is to eastern poison-ivy or to eastern poison-oak [23]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Eastern poison-ivy was used as a stimulant and a narcotic. Its juice was used to make indelible ink [19]. It is likely that Atlantic poison-oak has been used for the same purposes. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Atlantic poison-oak produces uroshiol, an allergenic oil that causes dermatitis in susceptible individuals [11]. A skin test has been developed to determine individual sensitivity to uroshiol. Other work is in progress to develop preventative treatments for sensitive individuals [18]. Atlantic poison-oak can be controlled by a number of herbicides [10,11].


SPECIES: Toxicodendron pubescens
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Atlantic poison-oak is a native, rhizomatous, deciduous shrub [5]. It has slender, erect stems that are woody for 20 to 24 inches (50-60 cm) [5], and are not over 3 feet (1 m) tall. The trifoliate leaves are oak-like in appearance with three to seven lobes [20]. Many authors report that the leaves are more leathery than those of eastern poison-ivy; however, Gillis [8] stated that this is a variable character. The flowers are produced in dense panicles 1 to 3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm) long. The fruit is a hard, reniform-globose or depressed-globose drupe [8,20]. Unlike its congener eastern poison-ivy, it is not a climber, nor does it produce aerial roots [8]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Atlantic poison-oak reproduces both vegetatively and by seed [8,11]. Vegetative reproduction in Atlantic poison-oak is accomplished by the formation of clones via rhizomes [20]. The intervals at which aerial stems are produced from rhizomes are greater than the intervals observed for eastern poison-ivy [8]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Atlantic poison-oak occurs on dry barrens, pinelands [5], and oak woods [8]. It is largely confined to sandy soils of low fertility on the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. Soils are most often coarse sands that are low in calcium, magnesium, and potassium [8]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Atlantic poison-oak is probably not tolerant of heavy shade [19]. In Louisiana, Atlantic poison-oak production was highest under loblolly pine plantations that had been lightly thinned, and lowest under similar plantations that had been heavily thinned [2]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Atlantic poison-oak is in flower from May to June, and ripened fruits are available from August through November [5].


SPECIES: Toxicodendron pubescens
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Atlantic poison-oak occurs in the understory of open woods, particularly in the longleaf pine, loblolly pine, and scrub oak types [8,9]. The open condition of these communities is maintained by fire. Historically, fires in these communities occurred frequently (intervals from 3 to 20 years) and were usually low-intensity surface fires. It is likely that Atlantic poison-oak is able to survive low-intensity surface fires by sprouting from rhizomes if top-killed. In Texas, eastern poison-oak is a common understory plant in a dry, upland longleaf pine savanna which has been maintained by periodic prescribed fire (burned at 3- to 5-year intervals) [13]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil


SPECIES: Toxicodendron pubescens
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : No specific information on Atlantic poison-oak mortality or top-kill due to fire was available in the literature. It is likely that, given its small stature, Atlantic poison-oak is easily top-killed by even low-intensity surface fires. It is likely to survive such fires and sprout from rhizomes. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : In Tennessee, Atlantic poison-oak occurred on plots that were prescribed burned annually between 1963 and 1988. Years and duration of its occurrence were not reported; the authors stated only that it "occurred widely across the years". Atlantic poison-oak was also present on plots that were burned periodically (1964 and 1969) but disappeared from these plots after 1972 [3]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : The allergenic oil (uroshiol) from Atlantic poison-oak can be carried on soot particles when the plant is burned and causes dermatitis on persons working in areas where Atlantic poison-oak is burned [11]. The smoke can injure lungs. Reports of ill effects from exposure to the smoke of burning eastern poison-ivy or poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) include head-to-toe dermatitis, fever, lung infections, and even death caused by the throat swelling up [18]. It is likely that under similar burning conditions and plant densities, smoke from Atlantic poison-oak could cause the same problems. Atlantic poison-oak, however, has not been reported at anywhere near the same densities encountered for either eastern poison-ivy or poison-oak.


SPECIES: Toxicodendron pubescens
REFERENCES : 1. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 2. Blair, Robert M. 1960. Deer forage increased by thinnings in a Louisiana loblolly pine plantation. Journal of Wildlife Management. 24(4): 401-405. [16891] 3. DeSelm, H. R.; Clebsch, E. E. C. 1991. Response types to prescribed fire in oak forest understory. In: Nodvin, Stephen C.; Waldrop, Thomas A., eds. Fire and the environment: ecological and cultural perspectives: Proceedings of an international symposium; 1990 March 20-24; Knoxville, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-69. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 22-33. [16630] 4. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 5. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 1632 p. (Dudley, Theodore R., gen. ed.; Biosystematics, Floristic & Phylogeny Series; vol. 2). [14935] 6. Fleharty, Eugene D. 1972. Some aspects of small mammal ecology in a Kansas remnant prairie. In: Zimmerman, James H., ed. Proceedings, 2nd Midwest prairie conference; 1970 September 18-20; Madison, WI. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Arboretum: 97-103. [2802] 7. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 8. Gillis, William T. 1971. The systematics and ecology of poison-ivy and the poison-oaks (Toxicodendron, Anacardiaceae). Rhodora. 73: 370-443. [8104] 9. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239] 10. Hamel, Dennis R. 1981. Forest management chemicals: A guide to use when considering pesticides for forest management. Agric. Handb. 585. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 512 p. [7847] 11. Hardin, James W. 1980. Things you should know about poison ivy--poison oak--poison sumac. AG-31. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University, Agricultural Extension Service. 20 p. [22421] 12. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 13. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1992. Boykin Springs Longleaf, Texas. Natural History. July: 62-65. [18360] 14. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 15. Robinette, W. Leslie. 1972. Browse and cover for wildlife. In: McKell, Cyrus M.; Blaisdell, James P.; Goodin, Joe R., tech. eds. Wildland shrubs--their biology and utilization: An international symposium: Proceedings; 1971 July; Logan, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-1. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 69-76. [9713] 16. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 17. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 18. Vietmeyer, Voel. 1986. Science has got its hands on poison-ivy, poison-oak, and poison-sumac. Fire Management Notes. 47(1): 23-28. [22422] 19. Walker, Laurence C. 1991. The southern forest: A chronicle. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 322 p. [17597] 20. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707] 21. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329] 22. Gunasekaran, M.; Weber, D. J.; Sanderson, S.; Devall, Margaret M. 1992. Reanalysis of the vegetation of Bee Branch Gorge Research Natural Area, a hemlock-beech community on the Warrior River Basin of Alabama. Castanea. 57(1): 34-45. [20436] 23. Skousen, J. G.; Call, C. A.; Knight, R. W. 1990. Natural revegetation of an unreclaimed lignite surface mine in east-central Texas. Southwestern Naturalist. 35(4): 434-440. [21195] 24. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329] 25. Wunderlin, Richard P.; Hansen, Bruce F. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. 2nd ed. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press. 787 p. [69433]

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